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Living on the edge: An innovative model of mangrove-hammock boundaries in Florida
Date:1/26/2012

"Ecotones are of great interest to ecologists because many species like to live along the edges between different vegetation types, so you can get rich diversity in those areas," says Jiang Jiang, doctoral student in the Biology Department at UM College of Arts and Sciences and co-author of the study.

Changes in water management, such as the expected increase in freshwater from the implementation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, may help offset the possible effects caused by future salt water overwash and inundation.

"The USGS project that we are working on will include a big landscape hydrology model that will predict the freshwater flow into the southern Everglades and at the same time take into account sea level rise," says DeAngelis.

The study, supported and funded by the USGS, lays groundwork for a larger investigation in which the agency is developing models to look at how sea level rise will affect coastal regions in South Florida. Other co-authors are Thomas J. Smith III, ecologist at the USGS and co-principal investigator of the project; Su Yean Teh, lecturer at the School of Mathematical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia; and Hock-Lye Koh, professor at the School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

The scientists hope to extend the application of this model to include other ecotones and other parts of the world that experience frequent storm surges. The researchers would like to be able to predict if salt water intrusion will have a long-lasting effect on vegetation, and on fresh water supply.
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Contact: Marie Guma-Diaz
marie.guma.diaz@gmail.com
786-375-7397
University of Miami
Source:Eurekalert

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